Dole Packaged Foods continued its winning ways in the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade Thursday, taking home the parade's glamor award for the fifth year running.
Topped with two erupting volcanoes and decorated with Dole-grown fruits like bananas, pineapples and mangoes, "Rhythm of Hawaii" was awarded the Sweepstakes Award for Most Beautiful float about an hour before the long-running New Year's Day parade stepped off into near-record low temperatures.
The unofficial dawn temperature in Pasadena was 37 degrees, as hundreds of thousands of parade enthusiasts arrived for the 126th version of the event. The coldest parade ever was in 1952, when the air was 32 degrees.
Torrance won the Theme Award for the float that best embodies this year's theme, "Inspiring Stories." The Torrance entry was inspired by the late Louis Zamperini, a native son who is this year's Grand Marshal in absentia.
The theme highlighted the memory of this year's grand marshal, Louis Zamperini, who was was named the parade's grand marshal in May, but he died two months later at age 97.
Zamperini, a USC and Olympic track star who survived 47 days on an inflatable raft during World War II before he was taken prisoner and tortured for two years.
Tournament of Roses officials said Zamperini -- the focus of the recent Angelina Jolie-directed film "Unbroken" -- will still be the parade's official grand marshal, represented by a riderless horse. Members of his family are expected to appear in the parade in a 1936 Packard.
Braving the weather will be riders on 39 floats, members of 20 marching bands and riders in 18 equestrian units. The marching band lineup includes groups from Denmark, Japan and Mexico.
Other winners included Zappos.com's massive, pink hippo with wiggling ears, winner for best animated float, and Western Asset Management Company's "The Power of Imagination," which was towered over by a spell-casting wizard.
Actor Jack Black is expected to ride aboard the Farmers Insurance float with his former teacher Debbie Devine, artistic director of the 24th Street Theatre.
Former Gov. George Deukmejian and well-known college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian will ride on the Armenian American Association float, while Princess Cruises will reunite the cast of "The Love Boat" -- Gavin MacLeod, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange, Bernie Kopell, Lauren Tewes and Jill Whelan.
According to the Tournament of Roses Association, the first parade was staged in 1890 by members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club -- former residents of the East and Midwest eager to showcase the Southland's mild winter weather.
The first procession included horse-drawn carriages decorated with brightly colored flowers, followed by foot races and jousts in the area town square. In subsequent years, the parade festivities included rodeo-type events and even ostrich races.
The parade will begin near Orange Grove Boulevard and Ellis Street, then move east along Colorado Boulevard and north on Sierra Madre Boulevard. The floats will then remain on display at Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards so people can see them up close.
Marshall Fundamental High School senior Madison Elaine Triplett, 17, of Altadena, will preside over the festivities as the 2015 Rose Queen. The members of her Royal Court are:
-- Mackenzie Joy Byers, 18, of Pasadena City College;
-- Gabrielle Ann Current, 18, of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy;
-- Veronica Sara Mejia, 19, of Pasadena City College;
-- Bergen Louise Onufer, 17, of Mayfield Senior School;
-- Simona K. Shao, 17 of Westridge School